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tv   Michelle Obama and Laura Bush Discuss Role and Legacy of First Ladies  CSPAN  November 11, 2016 9:10pm-10:05pm EST

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we have a scrolling slide show of first ladies through history. very grateful to the white house historical association for putting this together. please enjoy the loop and take a little break. and be back in your seats at 10:55 please. [ applause ] 48 hours of american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter, to keep up with the latest history news. up next, on american history tv, former first lady laura bush joins michelle obama on stage at the national archives, to discuss the u.s. military and veterans. both reflect on how they're helping the military community
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and why their work is important. abc news correspondent bob woodruff moderated the discussion, it's about 50 minutes. >> now we have the great treat of hearing from laura bush and michelle obama who are friends and have done several of these events together. and they very much wanted to do this one together. to talk about first ladies and the military and their own particular roles and programs that they have promoted. very wonderfully over the years. and they wanted to do it together because they like doing that. which is so heartening in these troubled times. but before we hear from them, we are going to hear from a member of the military. captain william b. reynolds iii.
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his family immigrated from guyana. and raised him in a tradition of dedication to service, to public service. and instilled that in him from the time of his birth. he took it to heart, went to west point and then was -- served first in korea and twice in iraq, and on the second deployment in iraq, he was the chief of recon sense of sniper deployment, and six months into that deployment, he was nearly fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device, during combat operations in southwest baghdad, he came back to be treated. was treated for a long time, 26 surgeries, even during that time he served in staff role at the pentagon as the deputy operations officer to the joint
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ied defeat organization. since leaving the military, he's been incredibly accomplished, publishing a book making it millennial. a study of how the government can relate better to the younger generation. and he has been the captain of the american team in the invictus games. where he met both of our first ladies who will soon be talking. he's a cyclist and a track star, despite having lost a leg due to his injuries in iraq. he is the father of four children, while doing all of these other things and is on the boards of disabled sports usa. u.s. military endurance sports and the positivity project. please welcome captain reynolds.
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[ applause ] >> thank you. thank you and good morning. i don't have near the breadth of history we've been showered with today to share with you i'll start by providing a little bit of personal history and my connection with the first ladies. >> at a very young age i dedicated my life to service, i made that dedication as a repay the debt to the american dream my family was able to live, but also because of the needs to uphold and preserve those principles for the underserved.
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i started serving first through church and scouting, and ultimately in the military. however, just a few years into my professional military service as you heard i was wounded in combat on a second deployment. what i come to know as my new identity of service was instantly ripped away from me. i thought although i would make a relatively successful recovery, my ability to serve was over. that was naive thinking at the age of 24. from medical visits at army reed medical center, i was thanked for my service and for inspiring them and the rest of the american people it was then i realized my mission of serving. to that end i'm thankful to the
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families of michelle obama and mrs. bush, for motivating me and allowing me to make that pivot in the way in which i served. it's because of that motivation i now have created and served on the board for veteran matters, community outreach. furthermore, consult for military health and veteran health. i never knew the breadth of service that could be done in the civilian sectors, answer the community at large. if there are three individuals who body the full gamut of what is possible. these three individuals i'm introducing are it. from raising successful families and utilizing the office of the first lady to bring to light the important matters of social change, the first ladies have done so much to the preservation and advancement of american culture. most parents in the room would say that parenting is our most
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important job we have seen firsthand the great job they have done in raising their daughters in the public eye. and also to serve. and in the midst of all this, they have been very giving of their time. the first lady gave up her mother's day to inspire the 500 wound wounded service members. at that very same event, jenna bush in her new career as a correspondent and journalist was in attendance. we're all waited with baited breath to see how sasha and malia serve. bob wood rough has done the same thing during operation iraqi freedom. which educated people. as you know, bob's service of combat journalism ended the same way mine did.
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further intertwining how bob and i pivoted and continued to serve. not only have i been a benefactor of the invictus games, i have seen the strides in research in the realms of mental health and traumatic brain injury. for all these individuals, public service is not only a personal cause that they work tirelessly in in both their personal and professional lives and in philanthropic areas, it's also a family affair. they have all motivated how i raise my young family today as i'm sure they've done for the american and world population. without further ado, i introduce first lady michelle obama, barbara bush and bob woodruff.
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[ applause ] >> what an honor it is toing here today, have a chance -- i want to tell both of you my wife, who is my commander. >> as it should be. >> she wanted to say hi to both of you and what you're doing for the veterans out there. . i also want to mention, i had a chance to see president bush at the invictus games, it was a clear indication that he was absolutely committed that he is to this. certainly, will reynolds who is an amazing person, who is out there, i think winning everything. i had a chance to talk to president bush about what he's
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doing. president obama too, of course, he's deeply committed to this. it's interesting, i just talked to mrs. obama backstage, i had a chance to see him in laos. one of the topics was what he thought about vietnam? and the war there, and laos. we have a lot of undetonated bombs still on the ground there. i asked him, all of those veterans. he and i were born august 1961. he's two weeks older than me. we asked about that, what was going on. we looked at war so differently in the 1960s and '70s, there were drafts and we were not attacked on our turf. i said those veterans that served there, do you call them heroes? he said, absolutely, we call them heroes, this is not something just reserved for the
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most recent wars. but in my experience here, as will said, one we never really expected having been wounded in the war, we experienced a lot of -- not diminishing attention, but the wars really kind of came to an endish as i say. there's not as much attention that's being given to those that served in the country. i'd love to hear from you what it's like to be in the white house. to have that kind of power and influence on an issue that is extremely important. >> i would say for sure, one thing is worry. you worry in the white house, when you know there are troops in harm's way. and you think about them every night, when you get in bed. and there, where you're in the lap of luxury really, beautiful house where your sheets are changed every single day. it couldn't be more luxurious,
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you think when you get in bed about our troops are laying out on the ground somewhere. i would say the main thing about having troops in harm's way, you worry about them all the time every single day. >> we've had the honor and and the experience to visit our wounded at walter reed and many military hospitals. and that is a sobering experience one of the things barack and i have talked about, when we first came into office, the first term, our visits would last for hours, because there would be 25, 50, 75 folks that we'd be seeing going room to room, many with devastating injuries. and now today, he -- just last week, he went to visit and he was there for 30 minutes, because there are fewer of our men and women who are being
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injured in war. and that feels good, that's something that you -- a commander in chief thinks about, before they pop off about going to war. when you've spent time on a base, and you know these men and women and their families, you don't just talk about war like there are no implications. it's serious business. and lives are changed forever. i would hope that any commander in chief that would have the privilege of serving would understand that these are real lives and real families that are impacted. >> when there is a story that does come out of somebody, or maybe a large group, significant injuries in the war. do you have -- is it long conversations that you have with the president? with your husband that night?
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>> after visiting at walter reed or whatever, yeah. sure, i mean we would talk about them, and think about those families. in many cases the families were there with them, around them, there's one injured warrior that i know of who now we still see who had such a severe injury. >> he was at the invictus games. >> he's one of the warriors that george has painted and he painted him with this scar in his head that he has still, but with his little child on his lap. what a lot of warriors will say, is that their families are what saw them through. one couple that george paintsed the -- he painted a portrait of him, but he painted his wife with him. this man said his wife was always there always with him,
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and he had also suffered a head injury, where he needed the help that she could give him. he's doing great now, george didn't just do his portrait by himself. but painted her in it, because he credited her with his recovery. >> meeting our service members, spending time on military bases fundamentally changes who you are as a civilian. i know that was true for me. when we -- i was like most americans, i had limited connection to the military community. and it wasn't until barack's campaign in 2008 that i started meeting military spouses, and hearing their voices, voices you don't hear in regular conversation. we talked about all the challenges that working mothers had financial worries, worrying about raising your kids. with these women mostly there
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were the worries of multiple deployments. understanding that these families are moving their kids every two years, in service of their country. worrying about whether there are adequate special ed programs in the schools they're moving to. and doing all of this with a grace and a pride that blew me away. that's one of the reasons why i am such an advocate for this community. i wish every american had an opportunity to sit down, to go to a base, to meet with families, to meet with service members, sit down with our veterans, we would think differently about our challenges as individuals. let me tell you, it makes me inspired to work harder. i think as laura said. here we are sitting in the white house we have no reason to complain. we have 1% of our country serving and sacrificing for the rights and freedoms of the rest of us. that's been a profound opportunity for me.
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one of the reasons why i will always champion she's men and women and their families as long as i can breathe. >> it's interesting -- i would like to talk about children. both of you had the chance to have your kids live with you there in the white house. both of you during times of war. i should mention real quickly, i didn't hear the fult introduction, but will reynolds also has four kids, and he's gone through what he's gone through. and it gives you a different perspective on things if you have a child whose in the midst of something whose significant i would say most times moving, emotional, maybe even difficult. during these times for both of you, what was it like when you had kids there when this was happening. knowing very well that the commander in chief was the one ultimately responsible for this and probably you're the first ones they turn to?
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>> well, i think back -- barbara and jenna were freshmen in college when we moved to the white house, they didn't live there. they were there -- >> they were invited to come. >> they were invited to come. they had been there as 7-year-olds when their grandparents moved there. they knew the white house just like we did. they visited them so often. when i wrote my book and looked back through my schedule, i saw that right after september 11th, the weekend after september 11th, that barbara and jenna came home to the white house. i knew that they came home because they wanted to be with their dad. and they wanted to be with us, and they felt great insecurity off at the university of texas and yale, freshmen after the attacks and they wanted to be there with him. and then i noticed that a month or a month and a half after that, our childhood friends from midland texas came. i knew that those boys -- you
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know, men that we knew as boys, wanted to be with george. that they just wanted to be there with him. i think that is really -- no one talked about war. that wasn't the conversation. the conversation was, we just want to be with you. and i think that's really important. and i think that's the way the children are too they don't want to -- you don't want them to be worried before decisions their father makes. you want them to just feel the security and love that every parent wants their children -- >> you want home to be home. and you want that for the president, because they need that refuge with all they handle during the course of the day. you want them to come up the elevate and open the doors to the residents they can breathe. you don't want kids hammering them with dad, can you do this?
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sometimes malia and sasha will do that. every now and again at dinner it's like, what were you thinking? for the most part, home is home, and that helps keep kids normal. i said this time and again, my greatest concern coming into the white house, was making sure my girls came out whole and normal and decent and kind, just like i would expect them to if we were living on the south side of chicago. and it takes work to keep white house life normal for the kids. >> it's not normal. >> it's into the normal. >> not when you have a slumber party with 30 friends. >> you try to pretend like it's normal. yeah, yeah, just ignore the guys with the guns. i remember one parent teacher conference at the lower school, barack went, and in were s.w.a.t. guys on top of the roof of the school. ma l malia was like, really, do they
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have to be up there? really? >> yeah, they do. >> they have to put up with that even after they leave. there's going to be security. >> it's different for -- it's a different level, so -- we don't want to talk about it too much, but it's not the same as what it will be for the president -- the former president and the former first lady. so -- they're all singing, we're outta here, and we get to ditch our agents pretty soon, but it's a different level of security. >> i'm hoping that my four kids actually get back to normal too when i leave abc news. is that going to happen? >> after i was hit, i had to tell my little kids, there's a new rule, i'm not going to cover wars any more. i can at least do stories about conflict? conflict's not war.
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we spoke about the -- both of you have accomplished so much, military service initiative, which was yours mrs. bush. and joining forces that you worked on as well. both of you have worked together better than i think most i think somebody said that you should tell your husbands to behave themselves compared to the others, but what have you accomplish accomplished? more or less in terms of what you expected. for those veterans. 25% are considered to be wounded. the rest have gone out with transitions when they come back. some to a new civilian world. what have you done for them that's the most important, and is it more than you expected or less? >> i think in general, there's just a feeling that people support the military. and that it starts at the top.
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it's very different from vietnam, when vietnam my generation, when they came home from war and were spit upon. that's not the way it is now. i think that's really great. i hope that our returning veterans really feel the gratefulness and the support of the american public. and i know that -- and you know this too, you're talking about it, the thousands of veteran support groups that little mom-and-pop groups that sprung up all over the united states, people do want to support our returning vets. and the other thing we should look at is what an asset they are. there have been 2.5 million post 9/11 vets, another million will be transitioning out in the next year or so, and think of the asset that is for our country. these people who chose to serve. who volunteered to serve.
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and now they want to come home, it's up to us, the rest of us to figure out how we can help them keep serving in our communities and make a life for themselves that they're happy with. and deal with the trauma that a lot of them have, the trauma of war. >> the thing i've been most pleased about with joining forces, it's really been a call to partnership with all sectors, corporate sector our faith communities, with our schools, our educators, medical community and what we have seen is that when you ask, people step up without hesitation. and that's the power of our platforms, is that a lot of times if laura or i ask for help, people are very receptive. the business community has created millions of jobs for our
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veterans and our military spouses, because of an ask that we made. millions of jobs, helping them get the training and to be able to retain those jobs and advance in those jobs. the same is true for military spouses as well. we've been pleased with our local leaders who have answered the call to end veterans homelessness, which was part of our call with joining forces. the notion that we have even one single veteran living on the streets should be just considered a travesty to all of us. well, many mayors, some governors, some states who have essentially eliminated veteran's homelessness, because they answered that call. hollywood community has stepped up. we work closely with writers and
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producers, who helped to develop plot lines that involve our military families, our military community. part of integrating those stories into every day life helps to normalize these men and women and their families and familiarize the rest of the civilian community with those issues, in a nonpreachy way i've just been pleased. >> you've done your entertaining as well? >> yeah. >> i think it was two days ago, you were on ellen degeneres? >> we weren't talking about veterans. i don't know what she was doing, but -- >> what is the purpose of that? you've been on television shows? >> well, usually when we do an appearance -- ellen -- you sort of try to make things fun. you get people to laugh, and then you can get them to listen. >> that is mandatory with her, yes. >> and with most americans, i think people respond differently when there's a little humor and
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people feel like you're making yourself vulnerable, then you seem less like the first lady and more like a neighbor, a friend. what we were able to do on her show was to highlight a number of initiatives. including the work we've been doing with healthy eating and work that steph curry has been doing. bradley cooper has been a tremendous support around the issue of military health for our veterans and our service members. and bradley's kind of cute, and he's a little distracting, but if you stop and listen to what he said on ellen. >> i have to say -- >> he was promoting the importance of ensuring that the suicide rates among our military members is reduced. and in order to do something about it, you have to know that it's a problem.
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people are watching ellen, they're not always watching the knig nightly news. i'm sorry. >> except abc. >> except abc, yes. >> nobody wants to talk seriously all the time. for those that have been hit. humor is a great one. my wife always tells me i have rocks in my head. >> you had those before, right? >> when did -- you know, i'm just -- i'm just speaking for her, what i would imagine -- >> that is correct, and then, of course, i use my aphasia, when she asks me to clean the garage, i say, what is a garage. that works extremely well. so much has been done too, in our experience, early when the wars began well more than a decade ago, we concentrated on
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those who came back on recovering, get the best treatment they can, but also, the next step was to figure out a way to let them get back into their civilian world, when they returned to their community. and the next one was jobs. i think the number -- the rate of unemployment with the veterans now is lower than the civilian numbers, the rate for untem employment. >> the other one, mrs. bush, this is one of your concentrations, most of the attention was largely to those that were visibly wounded. and now we have to realize there's a lot that are invisible. why is it that you are pursuing that now as one of your major concentrations? >> that is really one of the
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most long lasting effects of being in trauma like that. and so one of the things that george has done with both the bike rides and the gulf. a lot of people recover from those invisible wounds. those are the two things he's done that is to have a sport to go to to get over those invisible wounds. i moved back to texas with a group of people i grew up with, we founded a conservation group. we hosted a conference monday at houston methodist hospital of the benefits for being outside for mental health. one of the people who spoke was a colonel who suffered from ptsd. how being outside, being able to
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see green. there's research, not a lot that proves it, but they say if you just go outside some -- and one of the researchers that talked, talked about this problem that a lot of people have where they ruminate over a problem, he called it rumination. and you spend a lot of time where something's going through your mind. it's really bad for your brain, because you start to produce a lot of lot of cortisol. that's what ptsd can be, you go through your mind, you see your best friend being shot by you over and over and over. to be able to get out of that, use a sport or some other way to get out of it is very helpful with posttraumatic stress. the other thing that george has tried to do is take the d out of
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it, the disorder. it's not a disorder, it's an injury. if people are diagnosed with a disorder, it hurts them. you can improve from an injury. >> that's the work we need to do around mental health and how the military can be so helpful, because mental health affects all americans. the challenge that we face is there is still a stigma, so people are not -- they don't feel good about identifying and getting the help they need. sometimes it's vieweded as a weakness, when you think about that, it's ludicrous. it's an illness, could you imagine claiming that a cancer patient seeking chemo was somehow being weak. or you would tell somebody with a heart disease to toughen up. that's sort of where mental health is, and our military can
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play a big role in changing the conversation around mental health for the entire country. we know these men and women are heroes, we know that they're brave. we understand what's happened. if they can be brave enough to step up and get the help they need, perhaps that will help some kid in some community whose depressed and maybe thinking about suicide. maybe the research that is happening for our veterans and wounded warriors can be translated can help everybody. >> that's one of the reasons with joining forces we've been working with something called the campaign of change direction. the goal there is to help the rest of the nation understand the five signs they need to look out for when they have mental health issues. sort of like cpr training or use of a defibrillator. yeah, that thing. everyone should be aware,
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employers, teachers, educators, so that when you see the signs you know how to identify them and you can find the resources to get that person the help they need. this is true for many military spouses as well. it's not just the service members. the stresses of being a caregiver, of being that spouse that is dealing with four kids while their spouse is deployed. we have to make sure that these individuals feel like they can reach out when they need help, and they're not drowning all alone. this is one of the many ways that the work we do with the military community can be translated into positive impacts for the rest of the society. >> i was going to ask you, right before you said it, about pts versus posttraumatic stress disorder. there was a movement that developed over time, because there was a stigma. when you talk about employment and just getting back to your
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world, is that that was one that people didn't understand, and they were not going to hire someone with one they cannot identify, that has changed over time. >> it has changed, but it's important for people who are suffering in anyway to reach out. for the veteran as well as for the family. veterans are slow to say, i need help. they are tough, they pride themselves on it, and they don't want to jeopardize their chances of getting a job by saying, i need help. i think there are a lot of ways, i've seen some ads on television about talking. one man told george about seeing his best friend shot next to him, he said he couldn't get it out of his mind. and then he wrote him a letter afterwards and he said, i never told anyone that. you waited until you told your
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former commander in chief and you haven't told anyone else? those are things people need to be able to talk about. they need to have someone that listens to them. that's how you slowly get over it. >> you mentioned identification? anyway, i want to talk about spouses. you mention spouses ben and children. that's another one that -- so many times we've heard this, early on in the world of the wounded. the ones that don't get any attention or credit is the spouses, whether it's a husband or a wife. those that serve are the ones that get all the attention. that's changing over time. and a lot of it is what you two are doing. >> we have had so much fun working with military spouses. . you talk about highly skilled
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service members. military spouses are smart, they're resilient, they're multitaskers, amazing to the t, they are great spokespeople, great managers. they're great leaders, many of them have had their careers disrupted, because they're supporting a spouse. when you're moving every two years, how do you keep up with your job. one of the issues we worked on with joining forces is military spousal licensing. you have any kind of job that requires a license. an aesthetician or social worker, you name it. if you move to a base in another state, there was no reciprocity. a lot of military spouses had to go through hours of retraining, spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to get recertified. >> is that nurses too? >> nurses, doctors, any job with
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a license, there was no reciprocity. at the start of joining forces, that was one of our key issues. and we put a call out to all the governors, we had one of the first meetings at one of the governor's conferences, we were like, hey, come on, people. you know, can you do this. it was one of those things where a lot of the governors didn't realize their states didn't have reciprocity. they hadn't thought about it. >> this is like a no-brainer, nonpartisan issue. this is a win-win, just get it done. from the start to now, we have all 50 states who have military spousal licensing reciprocity. but we would have never known that had we not had the conversations with these men and women to hear their challenges, to see what they were going
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through, to find out what kind of things we could do on the ground. i mean, what would change their lives, this is just one of them. to talk about the military kids, i mean, the challenges of moving a kid -- finding the right programs, if you have a great special ed program your kid's in, you don't know if that school's going to have the same program, the level of advocacy and research, the skill that it takes to be a military spouse, to get your kid, to keep your kid on track. any parent out here, you think about your kid, what it takes to get them from kinder garden to 12th grade in one school? the average military kid attends, 7, 8, 9, 10 schools. and these kids are still graduating on time. they're still at the top of their class. there's a parent at home that's doing a lot of heavy lifting to
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make that happen. one of jill's initiatives has been working, jill biden, my partner in this, has been working with an well. so there's so much that we need to know about the challenges that military families face. they are holding up this country just as much as the men and women who are serving on those front lines and they're just as proud and just as to complain or ask for help. it's up to us to step up to them. >> the reason he won he wanted to make sure that his teenage girls had agents through high school. >> men with guns, that was a great motivator. >> my wife and i moved to ten
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different cities. >> is that the rocks in your head, thing? >> how many times are you going to say that? >> okay. it it's true. >> the other thing that's talk about it, you know, the great historians to talk about this, is it -- if you compared to what you're doing now asady as compared to what the first ladys did before, interesting to see somebody went to the war zones and dealt with those that came back when it was physically the blood. but the number of hours that you put into it if you compared them, what do you think. is it just much more an ending in terms of participation by first ladies in all of this. >> always.
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>> isn't that sweet that she likes flowers. the first lady likes flowers. she was really one of the very first conservationist that talked about using it. >> so, that takes us then to the next step, you know, i know you're -- you're always doing this well after you left, what are you going to do when you go. what's going to be your priority in terms of all the work. you've done everything, many initiatives other than the veterans won, i'm not going to ask you which ones you're going to concentrate on the most. how much do you think you'll be involved in this time as goes by. do you think it's going to be for the rest of your life, both of you. >> absolutely, what else are we going to do. >> the fact that you really have the podium, really, always and people still listen to barbara
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bush, don't you think, i certainly do. [ applause ] so -- >> do you obey her. >> it's a really wonderful thing. it's great for us to be able to have the opportunity to contribute to things and do things. >> you don't keep working on what we're interested in. these are all issues that don't ever -- you never get to rub it together and say, you're all things that you have to work on, literacy or wherever. >> you know, i was going to say, you know, to do this, you have to have a strong public service bone sort of built in you and i know that's true for me, it's true for my husband, i mean, long before he ran for office, we left corporate law and we were working with kids and mentoring. i worked for the city government. that's sort of what you do.
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you done stop because there's always something to do. so i can't imagine that i'll leave here and really pick my feet up and say, oh, good luck with that. >> i'll do that a little bit. >> you're right. >> it's going to be your hobby, unless you told me that president bush taking painting on as one of his main things. i think we'll get a book in marc march. >> has a book coming out with their portraits and then he wrote their stories. >> and he's donating all the profits. >> the profits go to my foundation. >> just kidding. just joking about it.
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>> i mean, there is life after the white house, not quite as luxurious. >> no new sheets every day. >> that's okay. so then we're going to have a brand new administration coming very soon, you can't win any terms, it's not roosevelt any more. >> that's fine. >> your kids are going to have to move and do something, but what -- do you have some advice to the next first lady or first gentleman that come into the white house about how to deal with the initiatives, generally, but operating out of the white house. i know there's a lot of remarkable organizations that are doing so much the veterans have a chance to go and visit the white house and changes their attitude a lot. is there any specifically that you would tell the next -- >> i would hope that, as with previous administrations at this next administration, will
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prioritize our service members, our veterans and our families. it should be high on the list. i mean, there's something that everyone can do to support this community, but the commander in chief, the first family, the second family, the vice president, they have an obligation to set that tone, i think laura said that earlier, with this platform, you can raise the bar high on this issue. i would hope that this is -- that this responsibility comes with the house and that every administration will try to top the next one in what they do for men and women, whatever you call it, whether it's drawing forces or you name it somewhere else. the work of making sure the country never forgets the service and sacrifice when it comes to our gold star families we hold them in our hearts. we don't just honor them with
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words, we do things that impact their lives, as much laura and i have done, there's still so much work to be done. everything is not fixed. there's plenty for the next administration to do. and i think, you know, i would urge all of our veterans' organizations, our blue star moms, gold star families, everyone to keep the pressure on the next administration, hold them accountable, ask the same important questions that you've asked these presidencies to make sure we never go back to the time of vietnam war where veteran comes home and they're afraid to even identify as a service member. i'll never forget, one of the when i realized we were having an impact, a time we went to va center and there was a gentleman, mr. black, who came up after conversation about what was going on at the va center, he said, you know, i have never been more proud to be a veteran
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than now. he said, i use to never tell anybody that i was a veteran because i never knew what their reaction would be. and he said, now, every day, i don't leave the house without something that identifies me as a veteran, because i don't care where i am people are going to stop me and thank me. they say thank you for your service, we're so proud of you. he said now i don't leave the house without something that identifies me as a veteran. and that just -- that warmed my heart. and that's something we have to think about for all these men and women who are going to be transitioning, our women veterans. there will be more and more women veterans out there. we have to hold them up and let them know that we're grateful, so. >> and a lot of the vietnam vets now, will also be coming back -- going to the va because they're the age to do that and some of them may have brain injuries that were never really identified before. so we'll start to see, i think, a big number of vietnam vets now
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coming into the va, the hospitals. >> right. and i think people just assume there are no battles going on. we're going all over the world with more conflicts and more special ops and cia, under ground kind of operation. that's going to continue for a long time and hopefully we're not going to have another major war again, but sometimes i say this is a little bit, maybe too emotional about it, but i ever looked back about the good thing about getting blown up, if there's such a thing, is it's been so satisfying, so fulfilling to have this relationship with a group of americans who have served have done so much partly because they've volunteered my own 25-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter don't have to join the military unless they really want to. but how has that been for you? i know it's as well -- to some
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degree, it's an obvious answer to it, but have you ever cried much? >> oh, god. i cry all the time. but it's more tears of pride, you know. i am moved by this community, moved deeply because when we talk about pride and country, when we talk about citizenship, when we talk about all the things we want. we want a strong defense, we want to big -- fight terrorism. all of this is resting on the shoulders of this one community, 1% of the country is stepping up to serve to protect the freedoms of us all. we can't just talk strong defense if we're not taking care of these men and women, not just during their service, but after. so, yeah, i do get emotional. i get emotional when i see a
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young man with all his limbs blown off at walter read and i see a young family sitting there and i wonder what are they going to do. a few months later i see that young man with his prosthetics. next month i see him walking. next year you see him competing in the invictus games, that -- it clutches your heart in a way that you can't imagine. we've been able to follow those journeys to watch people go from traumatic injury, to victory and there is a strength and a power to that that you just can't, you know, you -- >> yeah. >> and of america, our whole country, i think. we're so lucky to live where we live. >> which is another reason why it's so important for you to concentrate on the invisible wounds to.
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our medicine advancement, working in an hour about how medicine, it's another thing about the war is that the -- one of the positive aspects of it is medical advancement. so now the civilian world of medicine is saving lives. people say if i was hit five years before i was hit i would not be living right now. but it does create other invisible wounds that last forever. it's going to need even more, that's one thing you'll concentrate on, which is remarkable. >> i want to thank both of you for what you're doing. i haven't, sadly, done the research how much previous first ladies have done for the veterans. i know that we have brand new wars, sort of after the cold war, before, but you have really, again, you've done more than anybody expected and your influence has been a remarkable. so i want to thank you personally and i think from everybody here for doing what --
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[ applause ] -- you're doing. [ applause ] >> so i think that means we can stand up. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, michelle. >> thanks, laura. [ applause ]
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>> with donald trump elected, melania becomes the second born borne more about the presidential spouses from cspan's book "first ladies." it's a look into the personal lives and influence of every presidential spouse. it features interviews with 54 of the biography, 45 first ladies and photos from each of their lives. "first ladies" published by public affairs is available wherever you buy books and now available in paper back. >> what's the most urgent issue for our next president and
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